Z shell

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Z shell

Zsh 5.7.1 screenshot.png
Example of a Z-Shell session
Basic data

developer Peter Stephenson and others
Publishing year 1990
Current  version 5.8.0
( February 15, 2020 )
operating system various
programming language C.
category Unix shell
License BSD-style license

The Z shell ( zsh ) is a Unix shell that can be used both as an interactive login shell and as a powerful command line interpreter for shell scripts . The zsh is often seen as an extended Bourne shell that combines many improvements and features from bash , ksh and tcsh .

The Z shell has been the default shell in Apple's macOS operating system since macOS Catalina .


The first version was written in 1990 by Paul Falstad, then a student at Princeton University .

Origin of name

The name zsh is derived from Zhong Shao, professor at Yale University , who was an assistant at Princeton University at the time. Paul Falstad thought that Shao's login name "zsh" was a good name for a shell.


  • Programmable command line extension for both options and arguments of the most frequently used programs including native support for several hundred programs
  • Use the same command history for all running shells
  • Extended file globbing enables files to be specified in more detail without an external program call
  • Extended variable / array handling
  • Editability of commands with several lines
  • Spelling correction
  • Compatibility modes for other shells, e.g. pretend to be a Bourne shell when executed as /bin/sh
  • Customizable prompt with the option of displaying information on the right edge of the screen and removing it if the command is too long
  • Subsequently loadable modules, including full TCP and IPC socket operability, an FTP client and extended mathematical functions
  • Flexible configurability

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Changes between 5.7 and 5.8 .